Frontline policing in Wiltshire – the force who responded to the attack in Salisbury – would be ‘impossible’ if proposed Tory cuts went ahead, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police Michael Veale warned in 2015.
“Continued protection of the frontline will prove impossible,” Mike White chairman of the Wilshire Police Federation similarly told the government.
The Salisbury attack would have tested a well-funded police force to its limit, so it’s a huge credit to the resilience and bravery of Wiltshire Police that they dealt with the incident – that left one of their officer’s hospitalised – despite massive budget cuts.
Responding to the attack in Salisbury former Metropolitan Police officer and now Lib Dem peer Lord Paddick slammed Tory cuts asking in the Lords:
“When is the Government going to reverse its anti-police agenda?”
“The Government appear, in the eyes of operational police officers, to be treating the police service with contempt – freezing their salaries, cutting their pensions and reducing police budgets in real terms.”
Following the cuts, Wiltshire now has just 139 officers per 100,000 people, a third of the level in London, and 34% below the national average.
And the police federation warned last year that the Wiltshire force was “creaking” under the budget cuts and was “stretched to the limit”. Inspector David Abbott of the police federation warned:
“Policing in the 21st century is more demanding than ever before, as successive governments have piled further responsibilities upon the organisation without the requisite funding to match.”
Tory austerity gambling with public safety.